Ogden's Basic English
Miscellaneous Rules, Insights and Comments
Here in are some insights, rules, and comments by Ogden about the usage of Basic English found in various of his writings. Many are bows to realities and not necessarily to be taught
to the beginning learner, but are important to the "intermediate" or "media" basic that will be used in general writing as Basic English.
Works Ogden started but never completed - a researcher might study his papers (archived as C.K.Ogden Library at University College London) and those of the Basic English Foundation (archived as Lauwerys' Collection at University of London).
"Listed are a certain number of complex words (formed by putting Basic words together) of which straightforward additions Basic is free to make use." This opens the way to making closed compound words by using prefixes over-, under-, outer-, inner-, self-, etc. & -able, -full, -self where the root meaning of the Basic word is clear.]
Where the un- is changed to in- , im-, or ir- in full English, these forms are given. Though it is not necessary for them to be forced on the learner's attention, they are used freely in Basic Writing." - ISL 239
Where -er is added to names to become the name of the person or thing which does the act in question, -or sounds the same as if the ending were in -er - Actor, sailor , creditor.
Expect to see superlatives -er , -est. One syllable. [This essentially makes -est a Basic ending, and extends the scope of -er, when
used as a superlative of short words.]
Verbs (operators) conjugate in full. [see words there that are not specifically included in the 850.]
Pronouns (words used in place of a noun) conjugate in full. [see words there that are not specifically included in the 850.]
Form changes in names of acts as in normal English. [be, am, is, are, was, were, been] [see words there]
Degree with "more" and 'most'. [This conjugation of 'much' adds two words to the Basic vocabulary.]
Not every possible use of un- or -ly is covered because a great number of words formed with the -ing and -ed endings may have these additions as well.
And 60 other noun forms are the same as their verb form, but strictly speaking, used only as nouns: instead of "I attempted to come", say, "I made an attempt to come."
act , attack , attempt , awake , base , be a sign of , bite , blow , burn , burst , control , cook , cry out , crush , cry , damage , desire , doubt , drink , fly , fold , give , go , go into , guide , hate , have sex , hear , hope , jump , kick , kiss , laugh , lead , let , love , look for , measure , pull , push , regret , reward , roll , run , see , shake , sleep , slip , smile , sneeze , start , station , stop , support , swim , talk about , taste , touch , walk , wash , whistle.
Why repeat these four : give, go, let, see ?
We count 123 Basic words that can be verbs with no spelling changes -- a hammer : to hammer.
[Richards gets 200, but with spelling changes, which required extra learning and that is not good.]
account, act, agree, answer, amount, arm, attack, attempt, awake ,
baby, bag, base, box, bite, birth, blow, brush, building, burn, burst ,
care, comfort, control, cook, cool, chain, comb, complete, credit, crush, cloud, cry ,
damage, design, desire, doubt, drain, dress, drain, drink ,
equal, experience , farm, fear, fire, fly, fold, force, fork, free ,
guide , hammer, hate, hear, hook, hope, house ,
jump , key, kick, kiss , laugh, lead, leaf, lift, like, live, light, look, love ,
machine, measure, market, mixed, move , nail , offer ,
play, pleasure, pull, push, plow ,
rain, rate, regret, reward, roll, roof, root, run ,
sail, school, seed, shake, sign, sleep, slip, smile, sneeze, snow, sponge, spoon, start,
station, stop, stretch, support, swim ,
talk, taste, tax, tired, touch ,
value , walk, wash, wall, war, warm, weather, whistle, wire, wrong.
- The Panoptic Method
- Basic Mathematics
Planned, but may not have been started
- Basic Social Science Dictionaries -
- Vernacular course in Basic -- Swahili, Hindi, Tamil, etc.
- Science Library of 100 books (16 known completed)
- Basic Sciences Lists of subjects for which lists did not already exist.
- Journal of Abstracts in Basic. [See Basic English Compiled by Julia E. Johnson]
"Computers must be taught to respond to a limited vocabulary and to a simplified grammar and syntax. Is it altogether fanciful to imagine that the routine business of the world of A.D. 2100 will be run by a population of computers chattering to one another in Basic? What else should they speak?" - BE:ISL, 1968
Return to: Ogden's Basic English or Basic English Institute.
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About this Page: MiscRule -- Miscellaneous rules, comments and insights about Basic extracted from various writings of Ogden regarding allowed usage of Basic English.
Last updated May 28, 2005 -- add verbs from nouns.
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